>What's interesting is the 18-35's build........ >there's nothing that evokes the old 18-35 AF-D.
Yep, different construction. Hopefully it is fully internal zooming and focusing so that the lens barrel does not pump air in or out on zooming. This is a key component of weather sealing and helps to prevent dust (and more importantly, fungal spores) from getting into the lens. Bodes well for longevity in humid climates if constructed this way.
Since moving from DX to FX I have brought my old 18-35D-AF out of retirement. It is a nice lens but suffers from a bit of softness in the corners compared to the Sigma 10-20 that I was using during my DX days.
So now I'm waiting to see if the new lens is sharper than the old one and how it stacks up against the 16-35 f4 VR before making a move. I like the compactness and light weight. Would like it more if it also had the Nano crystal coat of the 16-35 VR. Won't miss the 16-35's VR on a UWA zoom so that is not an issue.